Trifle

Co-authored with Alan Davidson
Prospect Books, Devon, 2001 (reprinted in 2009)
A Dutch edition was published in 2008

‘Trifle is a perennial of English summer lunches, tennis parties, and schoolboy dreams. The authors trace its origins to the earliest recipe of 1596 and the gradual transformation of the dish from a mere cooked cream to the many-layered custardy extravagance that we know today. The stages on its journey, described with the lightest of touch, are illustrated by recipes extracted from classic English cookery books. Thereafter, we embark on an odyssey far and wide across the world (but not forgetting whim whams, tipsy hedgehogs and other oddities of the British scene) to discover the many forms of trifle, from Zuppa Inglese to an American aphrodisiac, or a fruit and tapioca construction from Laos. Details are scholarly yet enticing and will appeal to all those curious about the development of our national cuisine.’

Trifle was shortlisted for an award by the Guild of Food Writers in 2002. It has received many favourable reviews. Jill Dupleix in The Times described the book ‘as a little gem’ and Glen Baxter in Books of the Year for The Observer in 2001 said ‘sparkles with anecdote, generous whippings of erudition and the candied stem of the biznaga cactus. Hugely enjoyable.’ [Remove square brackets [In The Daily Telegraph in May 2008 Jan Moir listed Trifle as one of the books ‘that touched our souls’ saying ‘It’s not even a proper novel, but this is what happens when two great food scholars get to grips with the serious business of trifling.’] In North America it was reviewed by Margo True in Saveur magazine.

History meets whimsy in Trifle as Saberi and Davidson chart the rise of the dessert from a simple cooked cream in the late 1500s to today’s multilayered incarnations. … there is the wondrous collection of 90-some recipes, documenting the trifle’s reach across the globe … I’ve especially enjoyed the trifle belle hélène, with its dense, juicy pears and satiny bittersweet chocolate …
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